By on January 2, 2014

Daniel writes:

Hi Sajeev,

I’m a long time reader, first time writer. I have a question which no one seems to know the answer to so I figure you and the B&B can have a go at it. I have a good condition spare turbo laying around from my MR2 turbo before I upgraded. I want to install this into my toyota previa. The problem is the area where the turbo will sit it will be exposed to the elements under the car ( rain, snow, salt) the way the exhaust manifold sits I have no choice. What sort of problems do you think I have in the future with the turbo being exposed like that? I’m in Chicago and this will be driven in winter. And the van is lowered too so the turbo will be pretty close to the ground.

Sajeev answers:

Your problem has very little to do with the turbo’s location. It has to do with the fact that you have a free turbo and now want to build a turbocharged van around it.

Since the factory supercharged Previa has a different engine (2TZFZE) than the base model with a naturally aspirated (2TZ-FE) engine, there’s a lower compression ratio…for starters.  Engines designed for boosted applications often have stronger pistons, rods, cranks, unique cylinder heads and sometimes even better oiling/cooling systems.  Odds are the Previa’s two engines show a similar disconnect.

And we haven’t even touched on fuel system upgrades, ECU tuning, new exhaust, etc. So sell the turbo on eBay or craigslist.

Your van sounds pretty bad-ass. So if you really love the beast, use the proceeds of the turbo’s sale for a supercharged Previa donor van. Because it is way easier to upgrade when you have the entire conversion kit already assembled in a donor vehicle.

Which is sort of what I’m doing with my Ford Sierra…oh my, perhaps I’ve said too much…


Send your queries to [email protected]com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice. 

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

16 Comments on “Piston Slap: A Turbocharged “Placenta Previa”?...”

  • avatar

    A lowered Previa? lol

    Why come there’s no pictures of this beast?

    Sounds like a cool ride.

  • avatar

    “Your problem has very little to do with the turbo’s location. It has to do with the fact that you have a free turbo and now want to build a turbocharged van around it.”

    My God, this is so true.

    One has a perfectly good part and a desire to ‘not let it go to waste,’ but it’ll take thousands of dollars to integrate it into the existing vehicle, and in the end, SOMETHING fundamental won’t be compatible.

    Sell the turbo and save up for another vehicle.

  • avatar

    Asuming you ignore Sanjeev advice, the biggest problem I see would be if the Turbo is so low ensuring the oil can drain from the Turbo bearing housing back to the oil pan.

    I wouldn’t worry about corrosion of the Turbo. With the turbo so low the oil spray from a fractured oil pipe when you drive over a rock or frozen dead squirrel will provide a protective oil film. And if you’re really lucky the resultant fire will cook the squirrel giving you a tasty snack to enjoy while you huddle around the bonfire that was your van.

    • 0 avatar

      Seems to me such a low mounting would also invite failure due to rapid changes in tempurature after getting splashed with water shortening the life of the turbo. Never gave much thought to the debris issue.

  • avatar

    It sounds like you are dying for people to tell you what you already know but don’t want to admit: it’s not a good idea to put a turbocharger in a lowered Previa. With space-age engineering it is probably possible – if you have a heat shield made out of unobtanium, but OneAlpha is right, you’re letting the Turbo wag the Previa.

  • avatar

    Didn’t the Millen clan have a massaged Previa AWD that they used to cruise around in looking for rubes with more money than brains?

  • avatar

    A Panda Previa with a Fujiwara Tofu sticker on the side? Color me Jearous!

  • avatar

    Previa question:

    Were any sold here with the vista panel/multi-sunroof option? I know in other places they were, but I don’t think I’ve seen one here.

    • 0 avatar

      In high school, my friend had a Previa with dual moonroofs. They were good for venting smoke…

      • 0 avatar

        I always think of the 100 pound car challenge on Top Gear whenever I talk about sunroofs.

        “I am going to open my ELECTRIC sunshine roof now.” As the other two make a face hearing it, ha.

        • 0 avatar

          You just want that Audi 80.

          • 0 avatar

            At that level, I think I’d rather have the Volvo. “A 760, and it’s the GLE model!”

            I would never have bought the 80 with a replacement gear knob, and those fake sport pedals. That indicates trouble to me.

          • 0 avatar

            I miss the days of going through the “Budget Wheels/Under $500” ads in the Detroit Free Press or Ann Arbor News to see what I was going to drive for four or five months. I guess Craigslist has that demographic covered now, but I liked the suprise of what the car was actually going to look like. I also feel like I have a better chance of getting stabbed via Craigslist.

          • 0 avatar

            Craigslist photos are small and low-quality, so there are plenty of surprises still.

  • avatar

    Thanks for the reply Sajeev even before the reply I have sold the turbo…. Even mock fitting it the turbo sat 3.5in off the ground effectively making it the lowest point of the van. I have since decided to just drive it until the engine goes (which may be the second coming of Christ) and just do a low mileage jdm swap with a supercharged engine. They’re dirt ass cheap anyways since they won’t fit in any other car. Best of luck with the Sierra man that’s a crazy ride. I would take that shit to the ford dealer for an oil change just to see the reactions you get lol.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • Russell G: I’m not a truck guy but as far as looks go the Titan is as attractive as the Big 3. If I needed a...
  • EBFlex: https://dictionary.cambridge.o rg/us/pronunciation/english/al zheimer-s
  • dal20402: How do you pronounce “Xiden?”
  • Carlson Fan: When the F&I guy tried to sell me an extended warranty on my used Volt I just told him all the money...
  • 28-Cars-Later: “The F&I guy didn’t even bother to try to sell me anything additional.” Yes because...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Jo Borras
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber